There is no perfect place in the Egyptian Western Desert for having a Desert Safari trip like the White Desert, each time you see the desert offers a new treat, new change. White Desert begins about 28 miles north of Farafra to reach Bahariya Oasis. Tours to the White Desert in Egypt normally start from Farafra or Bahariya, which are the closest townships; Farafra is about 60 miles away, Bahariya 300. It is truly white, in clear contrast with the yellow desert elsewhere. The rock formations of the desert are often quite dramatic; you should not miss out on the weird rock balancing, on top of a white pillar.
A trip to the White Desert (El Sahara El Beida) is an unforgettable experience. As soon as you enter the area you can see that the wind has eroded the gleaming white rocks into surreal forms resembling hawks,chickens, Nefertiti's head, mushrooms, chess pieces and a wide variety of other shapes. You can use up several memory cards capturing the strange formation sand spend hours deciding what the shapes remind you of. As the sun moves across the brilliant blue sky the shadows and shapes change and the desert alters in front of your eyes.
A few ancient trees surviving on the limited water available in the desert cling to life on the sides of the dunes. The 300 year-old acacia known as "Santa" is especially tenacious. As green as any tree in Europe and spreading out over a wide expanse of dune and rock face it is hard to imagine you are in such an arid area as you stand beside Santa.The desert floor itself is strewn with shells, crystals and contrasting stark black iron pyrites in a staggering number of shapes as well.
The area near to the entrance is known as the 'Old Desert'simply because it was easily accessible on foot or camel before 4 WD vehicles were common in the oases. Immediately you find yourself in an area of outstanding and almost surreal beauty. Driving, walking or riding your camel further into the White Desert, you will pass Santa and enter the area known as the 'New Desert' which has only become readily accessible since 4 WDs were introduced.
No matter where you camp or watch the sunset the changing light plays tricks with the rock formations around you. What you saw a few minutes before as a glaring white rock will soften before your eyes and finally be darkly silhouetted against a spectacular crimson and fiery orange sky.
If you have opted for camping then you will have the chance to see the myriad stars appear as the night draws in. Around your cheerful campfire you will be able to gaze at the glittering sky - far brighter and clearer than what you are used to see in the cities. The meals eaten under the desert sky will taste utterly delicious and after having eaten there is plenty of time for a star-navigation lesson, smoking a shisha (water pipe) or just sitting in blissful silence appreciating the beauty of the desert environment.As you lie down to sleep you will hardly want to close your eyes not to miss a moment of the display above you.
As dawn breaks the dark formations around you are re-lit and new shadows and shapes appear as you sit and drink tea or coffee made from water, heated on the embers of last night's fire. It's almost as if there was a whole new desert born in front of your eyes.